Would you make the change – Mercedes to Tesla?
What is having a Tesla really like? We speak to a chauffeur about how the Tesla stepped up to the job as a chauffeur vehicle.
Meet Keith Whitlock – Hampshire-based chauffeur of 16 years, offering zero emissions chauffeur services. He decided to make the big switch from the Mercedes S Class 2 years ago and hasn’t looked back since!
We ask Keith about some of the areas that chauffeurs need their vehicles to perform the best – for the interests of their business and their customers. Costs, client comfort and space – and of course inquiries into what Tesla is so well known for: the practicalities of owning an electric vehicle.
How do the Mercedes and Tesla compare price-wise?
“I've had the Tesla S 90 since 15th of January 2016, my previous chauffeur car was a Mercedes s350d AMG. Cost wise the Tesla was £4000 more expensive.”
What about the running costs?
“Insurance costs are roughly the same. Servicing is minimal - I've driven 60,000 to date with only tyres, windscreen fluid and 2 batteries in my key fob being replaced! With my Mercedes I would have had 4 services!
“Fuel S class £850 per month v Tesla £30 per month (Charging at home). The majority of time I use Tesla super chargers which are rapid and at the time of writing, free” The super chargers can provide approximately 50% of range withing 20 minutes which roughly equates to over 130 miles.
The free electric superchargers will only remain free for existing owners and anyone who has purchases a Tesla before 1st January 2017. The cost after this date is shown on Tesla’s website.
- 400 kWh (~1,000 miles) of Supercharger credits are awarded annually.
- For usage above the complimentary annual credits provided, a small fee applies.
- Great Britain is currently set at £ 0.20per kWh
A very important question – how do your client’s like the ride?
"As I have had the suspension upgrade, I have not found the suspension hard – it uses GPS to lower or raise the height by location or speed – and my passengers have not found it hard either.
"The overall client feedback is very positive and clients are fascinated by the technology and capabilities. And it's roomy - especially in the back for the 3rd passenger as there is no transmission in the way. There is also extra luggage space in the front as there is no engine. I've had 9 cases in my car! I've also had 3 passengers with luggage and 3 sets of golf clubs.
"The autonomous driving features gives me and my passengers peace of mind when I explain it to them and show them and makes my job easier and more comfortable. My favourite feature is autopilot with the Spotify premium music streaming a close second."
What about battery charging and run-times?
“I've never had a problem with battery range on long trips as there are a growing number of Tesla superchargers - and combined with home charging it's never a problem.
"Charging time has never been an issue. Overnight with a charger installed at my house I can fully charge my Tesla at a rate of 21 miles of range per hour of charge (if you have 3 phase it's quicker)
"In between jobs I make use of the superchargers and home chargers to give me the range I need, again it's never been a problem.
"I've never run out of power and the car navigation will always tell you how much charge you need, how long to charge for and navigate you to the superchargers on route."
Would you go back to Mercedes?
"My recommendation to any chauffeur considering buying one is 100% buy one. I was the first chauffeur to licence a Tesla in my town and now more are following.
With the government incentives to buy (£4500 government contribution and a first year right down allowance of 100%) combined with the safety and running costs it's the best car I've had for this job."
Find out more about Keith Whitlock and his chauffeur services by checking out his website: teslachauffeurcars.co.uk
You can get in touch with him via email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 07843016264.